Boating is best way to visit Lake Powell

Updated May 28, 2018 - 7:02 am

Now is a wonderful time to take a couple of days or longer to enjoy the waters of Lake Powell. The summer crowds haven’t descended here just yet, and the daytime temperatures are ideal.

Lake Powell lies within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, on the border of Arizona and Utah, and boasts more than 1,800 miles of shoreline. Many of the Navajo sandstone formations and monoliths can be seen from the water, although there are also some fine hiking trails that offer a closer look. While you are on the water, you will find plenty of sandy beaches where you can relax, take a swim or even set up camp.

Boating is the best way to visit Lake Powell, and when accessing the lake there are many types of craft, from small fishing craft to rented houseboats. If you are uncomfortable with being in charge of your own vessel yet still want to get out on the water, there are plenty of other great ways to do so. I have done a couple of half-day and longer guided day trips, from the Wahweap Marina, all well worth my while. All you need to do is buy a ticket and board the boat, and the tour guides take it from there. The most popular trips, and for good reason, are to Antelope Canyon, Navajo Canyon and Rainbow Bridge National Monument.

For the crème de la crème, take the tour to Rainbow Bridge National Monument. It takes most of the day — six to seven hours — but the rewards are worth the time. The boat brings passengers about 50 miles up the lake to the dock near Rainbow Canyon. From here it’s walk of about three-quarters of a mile to see the bridge itself. (The distance depends on water level.) This natural stone bridge is said to be the world’s largest and is about 290 feet tall and 275 feet wide.

If you are short on time but still want to get out on the water and see some of the sights, there is also a boat excursion to Antelope and Navajo canyons that takes only two and a half hours roundtrip. These narrow and deep canyons have some of the most fantastic examples of desert varnish. Here as well, over the space of unimaginable time, water has carved the sandstone so beautifully that the rock itself seems like petrified waves. All these tours are available from Wahweap Marina; call 800-528-6154 or visit lakepowell.com.

There are many camping options in the area, including Wahweap RV Park and Campground, about a quarter-mile from the lake. For lodging there is the Lake Powell Resort at the Wahweap Marina, which has rooms, suites, restaurants, a gift shop and a pool. There are also many good lodging opportunities in nearby Page, Arizona.

Deborah Wall’s book “Base Camp Las Vegas: 101 Hikes in the Southwest” ($24.95, Imbrifex) is available on Amazon. She can be reached at deborabus@aol.com.

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